Dr. Liu's laboratory is currently studying the role of hypothalamic apolipoprotein AIV (apo AIV) in the development of obesity and how it can be modulated for preventive and therapeutic purposes.
Apo AIV is a circulating signal released from intestinal cells in response to lipid feeding, and it contributes to the anorectic effect of a lipid meal.
We have demonstrated that apo AIV is also synthesized in the hypothalamus, and that hypothalamic apo AIV gene and protein expression is regulated physiologically.
Current work focuses on:
To determine hypothalamic apo AIV gene expression and protein levels and the responsivity of hypothalamic apo AIV to dietary lipids in several strains of obese and lean animals. We will also determine the response to chronic high-fat feeding in apo AIV knockout mice.
To characterize the transport of apo AIV from blood into the central nervous system and to assess the areas in the brain that are activated by apo AIV administered either centrally or intravenously.
To determine the interaction of apo AIV with other regulatory peptides within the hypothalamus. This work is innovative because it addresses important unanswered questions. The new knowledge may lead to novel targets for preventive and therapeutic interventions that will be particularly important to the growing numbers of obese persons in this country